Durkheim - to think dialectically. To understand how...

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Durkheim: Rules of the Sociological Method Background One of three books written in a productive 4 year period 1893-1897 (along with Division of Labor and Suicide ). In DoL Durkheim showed that sociology had something to add to the account provided by utilitarians. In Suicide Durkheim showed that it was possible to explain what seemed to be an individual phenomenon in terms of sociological variables. Here, Durkheim wants to delineate what sociology is good for (what its object of study is) and how to do it. Concepts reality sui generis social fact sacred/profane anomie ritual energy individual as social product cult of individual solidarity mechanical/organic solidarity socialization Rules In Marx we had to learn a few new tricks of thinking. First, we flipped the ideal and the material and remembered to look to material social relations as the foundation of our explanations for social phenomena. Even thinking can be traced back to material arrangements. We also learned
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Unformatted text preview: to think dialectically. To understand how society works we have to realize that there are often present conflicting and contradictory concepts. We had to learn to conceive of the world in "both/and" rather than "either/or" terms. In your other classes you might have encountered this in terms of "structure" vs. "agency." Some theories try to privilege one or the other. Other theories -- ones with a dialectical logic -- allow that society may best be viewed in terms of BOTH structure AND agency and that these have a reciprocal and mutually implicative relationship. In Durkheim we are going to encounter another cognitive "move" that will, at first, seem unnatural. This technique of thinking is summarized by his famous dictum "treat social facts as things." Our first task will be to come to an appreciation of what Durkheim means by "social fact"and "the social."...
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